Hi Dessa,
My wife Marcie and I have been clients of K&A for almost 20 years. We have always been very careful, conservative investors. I’m an independent businessman, and Marcy is a nurse. Neither of us have ever had an employer-based pension plan. We’ve always been responsible for making the investment decisions that would fund our retirement. We’ve been able to build a sizeable nest egg over the years, and we guard it very carefully. I’m not one to take risks, especially with our hard-earned savings.

About two years ago, Dessa asked us to look at Income Plus. For the last little while, she has been recommending that we restructure our investment portfolio to a more equity-based position, and away from GICs. At the time, it didn’t look like something I was interested in, and rather than browbeat us with her ideas and suggestions, Dessa just stepped back and left us to go along as usual.

About a year ago, knowing we were coming up on our planned retirement date, Dessa generated a projected income statement based on our ultra-conservative portfolio. The plan outlined how long our retirement savings would last, and what the earning potential was over the life of our retirement. I was feeling pretty cocky, sure that my cautious investment strategy was the best, and that it would cover all of our future needs. Then Dessa showed us how things would look if the economy wasn’t so rosy. That’s when I started to have visions of dining on canned dog food in our golden years!

Dessa reassured me that we wouldn’t be in that kind of trouble. She reintroduced Income Plus, and thoroughly explained the risk vs. benefit potential. After reviewing all the options, Marcy and I decided to trust Dessa’s advice and go ahead with Income Plus. Dessa helped us make the decisions and implement the strategies that will see us through the kind of active, interesting retirement we have planned.

Things have been going along smoothly. Marcy retired a few months ago, and I’m gradually working my way into full retirement. This recent downturn in the economy and the volatile stock market has been very scary for two people just beginning life without a paycheque! We watched things for a little while, and then I called Dessa. I had to ask, “Should we be worried?” Her answer was an immediate and reassuring, “Absolutely not!” She then explained how Income Plus would protect us through this market fluctuation – and beyond.

We deeply trust Dessa and her whole team. They are very sensitive to client needs, and Dessa always makes sure to take as much time as is needed to make sure that Marcy and I fully understand our options. She understands that we’re careful investors, and that we need to be completely informed before we make any decisions. She responds very quickly to any questions or concerns, and never makes us feel that we're being foolish or inconveniencing her. Suggestions for changes are always gently introduced – Dessa simply has no “hard sell.” That’s the style that works for us. Financial matters can be overwhelming and confusing, and it’s so reassuring to have someone like Dessa and her team to help.

– C & M.H. .

Hi Dessa,
We’ve all had those life-changing moments – your first kiss, your wedding day, the birth of your child. Who knew that one of the most defining moments of my life would happen in my financial advisor's office?

I remember my husband Greg and I were having our regular meeting with you to update our financial plans in late 2005. We were expecting our first child, and wanted to discuss some of the options we could put in place to protect her future. Dessa, you recommended that we look at a Critical Illness policy. I think my husband and I were like most other people our age and thought, “Yeah, that sounds good, but we really don’t need it. We are just too young and healthy.” But we have always put a lot of faith in you as our trusted advisor, and once you explained that if we didn’t use it, we would get all the premiums back, we signed up for the Critical Illness plan.

There I was speeding through life with a husband, a 3-year-old daughter, and a busy career as a professional engineer – proving myself to the world. I was doing it all and having it all. Then, on June 3, 2008, my life changed. I was 36 years old and diagnosed with invasive ductile carcinoma – breast cancer.

I had to have immediate surgery. I went through a million scans and tests, caught up with my whole family in a bewildering roller coaster of emotions. Then my husband remembered our Critical Illness policy. Honestly, it was such a small amount coming out of our account that we hardly noticed it. When Greg called you at K&A, the first thing you did was offer your sincerest well wishes. Then you leapt into action and got us the information we needed to move forward with the claim.

On July 3, 2008, we submitted the two information forms required for the claim, one from me and one from my surgeon, along with the pathology reports. On July 22, just 20 days after filing our claim, we received a cheque in the mail for the full amount of the policy – $100,000. And the cheque was accompanied by a letter that wished me well and thanked me for allowing them to be of assistance. It was amazing – no delays, no red tape – and a full payout on the policy in less than a month!

I had two surgeries, and I started chemotherapy in August. I’m scheduled for eight rounds of chemo which will be done just before Christmas. I haven’t worked since mid-June so our financial situation would have been very scary without the Critical Illness payout from Manulife.

Dessa, I don’t know what we would have done without you and your great advice. I cannot imagine having to worry about money while trying to focus on saving my life! Now, with no strain on our finances, I can concentrate on getting healthy, and I can ease back into my life once my therapy is over. We even have the option to seek treatment at other medical centres if we choose to investigate other therapies. Greg and I are also thinking that we will treat ourselves to a vacation once I’m back to full strength again.

Simply put, this is peace of mind at a time when nothing is more important. No one is “too young and healthy,” because you just never know. Manulife’s Critical Illness policy was absolutely no strain on our finances, but gave us a huge return. Dessa, you and Manulife had us covered. Thank you.

– Susan L P.